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Full Case Study: Ranking WITHOUT links

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by PartyNeon, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. PartyNeon

    PartyNeon Regular Member Premium Member

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    Hey everyone, if there is enough interest in this I will post my entire case study. But to start, let me overview what I did and the kind of results I found.

    What I did:

    • I Registered 30 websites. (10 websites in each of 3 different niches)
    • I Wrote 15 pages of content for EVERY site.
    • Every article was unique. HOWEVER, I changed keyword density, title tags and word placement.
    • Without adding any links, I recorded the positions and ranking changes of each site over time

    Notes:

    • The goal of the study was to test the effect of content on rankings and determine the best way to write content.
    • The keyword's I aimed to rank for WERE not in the domain (I tried to eliminate any extra variables)
    • All domains were on separate C blocks, and each was newly registered.

    Variables Tested:

    • The articles varied slightly in keyword density. (.5% all the way up to 5%)
    • I changed title tags, and my usage of h2 tags
    • I changed word positioning and studied the patents on LSI indexing.
    • Word count varied. Some sites focused on 200 word articles, while others averaged 1000 words.
    • Simple sentence vs Complex Sentence usage
    • Image usage vs Non Image Usage (and the effects of alt tags)
    • The best way to break up content

    THE RESULTS:
    After adding 2 articles per week, for a total of 6 weeks, I have recorded quite a bit of data. It seems that the most important factor in Googles algorithm is the 6th to 9th word in each article. Look at any natural page of content, you will notice that the 6th to 9th word in each paragraph usually is the focused content of the article. Another observation was the fact that keyword density only plays a negative factor in large articles. In articles with less than 200 words, a keyword density of 5-10% DID NOT hurt the rankings. On the other hand, articles of 1000 words could only get away with a 2.5% keyword density. (Anything more than that hurt the results). It is better to make the H2 tags SYNONYMS of the H1 tag, as opposed to secondary keywords you want to rank for. Content and On-Site factors compose roughly 60% of Google's algorithm. Half the sites had images, the other half did not. The sites that had images FAR OUTRANKED the sites that did not.

    Top 5 Content Writing Tips:
    1. The more H2 tags the better. 150 words under each H2 tag is the ideal range to achieve best rankings.
    2. Make the 6th to 9th word in each paragraph the keyword you want to rank for
    3. Bulleted points are amazing for rankings. Google gives extra value to keywords after bullets
    4. One image per 200 words is the PERFECT ratio. USE IMAGES (5-8 words for alt text)
    5. More words in article = keep a lower keyword density. Less words = keep a higher keyword density

    Wordpress Tips: Use POSTS not Pages. Tags tags tags, the more tags the better. Categorize and interlink your articles. An HTML sitemap is key. Yoast is the best on-site plugin, in my opinion.

    There you have it. A 2 minute overview of my case study. For those of you that like stat, I have correlating spearman data for 45 different factors. Each of the 30 sites have ranking tracking over the 8 week case study. I noted EVERYTHING. If there is enough interest for a complete data analysis, I could do that.

    Update: A couple of the sites DID get competitive rankings without links. That being said, after adding a few links, the higher performing sites quickly achieved top positions. (1st Page for 4k Exact Searches and $2 CPC). I honestly do not think Google penalizes for the duplicate content on category pages on WordPress. (Surely it doesn't help as much as unique content, but I highly doubt it hurts.) I'm in the process of compiling a far more extensive set of data. Check back in a day or two! I think you guys will enjoy the full study, there is quite a bit of actionable data.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 96
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  2. Makunouchi

    Makunouchi Registered Member

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    Great, thanks for sharing.

    In my opinion you're mixing too much variables, which you don't have control of, making this case study not that accurate.
    Are you using tags and categories?. I stop doing that since Panda, as often those are nothing but dupe content. It's great to know that some things work for a site and some others don't, so if it works for you, congratulations and keep up the good job.
     
  3. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    Interesting about words 6-9. I'd never thought about that.

    (a little like how I listen to tracks 3-6 of a dance music CD to decide if it's any good)
     
  4. bigballin6161

    bigballin6161 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Very interesting Im gonna try this out!
     
  5. Patel

    Patel Senior Member

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    If you want to rank without backlinks, then your content has to be so good that other people will link to it for you. Unique articles wont cut it imo. You need to provide some kind of value to the website, besides just unique articles.
     
  6. Cranula

    Cranula Junior Member

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    Very interesting case study,

    I'm sure that this can be accomplished but I'm not sure if its as efficient as sending a few high quality links towards your site.

    Have you seen any more serp gains since then?
     
  7. matthew1994

    matthew1994 Newbie

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    I'm using blogger for my posts; where can I find this "H2" tag and edit it to put 150 words in it? I searched the HTML with online help but couldn't find it.
     
  8. skripel

    skripel BANNED BANNED

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    amazing, good tips for seo without backlinking, if you add smart hrefs to that and social media factors as updates on facebook, twitter and such u may have great success. IM is not easy but with hard work comes the green compensation!
     
  9. smoky1930

    smoky1930 Newbie

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    You said that the pages with images ranked a whole lot higher. Were the keywords or any variations of them used in the image names or alt tags? Or did you just use generic non optimized naming conventions?
     
  10. mrxinbollywood

    mrxinbollywood Elite Member

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    after a very long time, i found some usefull post by a fellow bhw member, which certainly helps a lot of people to see in a different way to blog post and its on-page optimization.
     
  11. ezines

    ezines Power Member

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    When Google read this, they will tweak again their algo :D

    Very useful and interesting case study, indeed. The 6th - 9th word, I never thought of that...what I always do is to have a keyword I want to rank for anywhere in the first sentence.
     
  12. Remington

    Remington Regular Member

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    Great information! I'd love to see the full case study. I'm always interested in the minutiae of the Infernal Engine - and how to make it rank my pages.

    I presume you mean to put a paragraph of 150 words after every H2 tag, rather than putting 150 words into an H2 tag. Am I right?
     
  13. imserious

    imserious Senior Member

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    To all those advising OP to send backlinks or social media mentions -
    This was a case study to find out the impact of on page factors on rankings.

    OP : +rep for conducting and sharing an excellent case study and do share the entire case study, very interesting.
     
  14. totonos

    totonos Registered Member

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    Thanks for sharing all that!!
    Some questions though:
    Where there in title or alt tags of your images the keywords?
    Did you used any bold, italic or so?
    The domain names and the pages where named after the keywords or not?
     
  15. worldismine

    worldismine Regular Member

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    Man thank you very much for such a great case study. I am going to try to re-write some of my sites as a test bed to see if it can improve rankings on older sites/articles.
     
  16. blackrgb

    blackrgb Newbie

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    I would love to see the data!
     
  17. flc735

    flc735 Regular Member

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    moar! i would like to know about the alt tags in the images. this is great though. thanks
     
  18. UpMyKilt

    UpMyKilt Registered Member

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    +rep added from me as well. While the case study is not comprehensive enough to come to serious conclusions about SEO in general, it certainly does provide some data that should be/could be tested as far as some onsite SEO practices. Thanks.. I will do some of my own testing as well and see what I experience.
     
  19. Double D

    Double D Registered Member

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    So what are the rankings for your sites? are they earning yet?

    and thanks for the tips they seem pretty helpful.
     
  20. ugjunk

    ugjunk Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Using Synonyms for H2 tag was quite interesting. This is a good case study. I will subscribe to thread and will look forward for your updates.